Plaque is bacteria that form over gums, teeth, and tongue. It is unavoidable, but can be controlled with regular oral cleaning via toothbrush, floss, and mouthwashes. Disclosure gel or tablets can be used to dye the bacteria for precise cleaning. Plaque is often white, yellow, or brown and often has a rough, slimy, or furry feeling when rubbed with the tongue or finger.
How Plaque Forms
Plaque invades your mouth with your saliva shortly after brushing. The bacteria that are normally in your mouth are important to maintain your overall health. These include leukocytes, neutrophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes. However, if the aerobic bacteria aren’t kept from collecting into a biofilm, they multiply on the surface (Supragingival) because they have access to oxygen. From there, the bacteria breeds anaerobic cousins who don’t need oxygen and they move under the gums (Subgingival).
Concerns of Plaque Build Up
If left unchecked, plaque piles against and between teeth and hardens into dental calculus (also known as tartar), creating rough surface that allows more plaque to build. Tartar can only be removed by a professional cleaning. Periodontal disease, tooth decay, and gingivitis are the next steps of plaque damage, and lead to even worse oral issues if not controlled.